Print 46 comment(s) - last by Lord Evermore.. on Jan 3 at 7:57 PM

The hip computer maker battles with another headache

Shortly following news of Apple’s stock options backdating scandal, the Associated Press is reporting that the company is now facing several lawsuits, including one alleging that Apple is monopolizing the digital music market.

The lawsuit is over Apple’s proprietary iPod and iTunes software, which is generally incompatible with non-Apple products. Media purchased on iTunes is supposed to be playable only on iPod hardware, and songs purchased on other DRM systems are not easily playable on iPods.

Apple motioned for the courts to dismiss the case, originally filed July 21, but the courts denied the motion on Dec. 20. The plaintiff seeks unspecified compensation.

Apple is also facing a lawsuit, filed on Nov. 7, over the supposed high failure rate of the logic board in the iBook G4. Another lawsuit filed by PhatRat Technology accuses Apple of patent infringement for its iPod-Nike product.

While the iPod reigns supreme in the music player market, Apple’s success has not come without a price. Last year, Creative Labs sued Apple over patent infringement of the iPod interface, which eventually lead to a countersuit. The companies eventually settled on having Apple pay Creative $100 million for use of the patented technology.

The popularity of the iPod has drawn attention from hackers discontent with the proprietary nature of the device. Jon Lech Johansen, who cracked DVD encryption, has undone Apple’s protection scheme and plans to license his work to companies interested in opening up interoperability between iPod/iTunes and non-Apple devices.

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RE: Monopoly?
By glennpratt on 1/3/2007 10:41:11 AM , Rating: 2
When someone buys an IPOD they know that it will work with itunes ONLY.

Bullsh!t. When someone buys an iPod they know they blew a wad of cash on a trendy Walkman. Some people know more, but I would bet they are a small minority.

GOOD for apple. THEY dont have a monopoly. Isn't a MONOPOLY WHEN like a cable company wont ALLOW others to use it's cable lines?

Please tell me, what is the difference. iTunes is the way to the iPod (sure other MP3 players are available), your local cable company is the way direct cable to your TV (sure there is DirecTV, IPTV, FiOS, Dish, ATSC, etc, etc). Both monopolies.

RE: Monopoly?
By Lord Evermore on 1/3/2007 7:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Cable is a monopoly because they worked out deals with local government that makes it impossible for another provider to get a franchise in those cities, so they can't string their own lines to provide you with an alternative. Cable providers are also not required to allow line-sharing so that another ISP can provide service over their lines. Only companies that already have franchise deals with a city can run lines, such as the phone company or power company.

Apple doesn't have any deals that make it so they're the only MP3 player that anybody can purchase. When you buy an iPod, you make a purchase of a product that specifically is tied to iTunes. You made a choice. You weren't forced to make it because only iPods are available in California. You can use iTunes without buying an iPod, and if you chose to use iTunes you've specifically made a decision to use a service that isn't compatible with other players. If Apple won't license Protected AAC to other player makers, that's their choice, and if they will license it but nobody wants to pay a license, then that's not Apple's fault.

Every page about the iPod on Apple's site specifically says iPod and iTunes. iPod also supports other formats so you're free to use MP3 or whatever, and there's no law that says Apple has to support Microsoft DRM, just as MS doesn't have to make a player that supports Apple DRM.

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